What is a Christian Prayer Shawl?

By Faith and Rain, 7 January, 2024
Senior citizens wearing Christian prayer shawls.

A Christian prayer shawl is a small blanket or scarf that’s made specifically to be given to someone in need. Normally, these prayer shawls are placed over the head to give off a warm glow, much like a soft hat.

These are knit and crochet items that are made to be a spiritual symbol of caring. As they’re made, the person who’s making them prays for whoever is receiving it.

These shawls aren’t exclusive to any religion or belief system, and the type of prayer that’s woven into them is completely up to the individual who makes them.

Use of a Christian prayer shawl can help strengthen your connection to God while simultaneously clearing away distractions that prevent focused prayers from taking place.

Picking out the ideal color can have a huge impact on its recipient. Each hue stands for particular emotions or traits - for instance pink symbolizes friendship and compassion.

Deuteronomy 22:12: "You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself."

Reasons to Wear One

Christian prayer shawls serve as a visual reminder that other believers are praying for you, making it especially poignant when medical procedures, illness or bereavement is involved.

Wrapping one around yourself allows you to feel all those prayers, thoughts and hopes behind its creation.

Jewish tradition holds that shawl fringes symbolize God and His Word, His Promise to keep his Law, and covenant between mankind and Himself.

When a woman had an issue with blood that brought her before Jesus, according to scripture she touched the fringes of his garment to receive healing.

Messianic Jewish or Hebrew Christian communities use prayer shawls as a symbol of their dual identity, uniting elements of Jewish heritage with faith in Jesus as Messiah.

Their tallitot, or prayer shawls, incorporate Jewish symbols and Christian crosses in their designs for maximum visual impact during worship services and can provide a sacred space and mindset conducive to prayerful contemplation.

The Meaning

Prayer shawls are full of symbolism. Each prayer shawl can be carefully hand knit with intention to convey a specific message for its recipient.

Whether that means repeating a phrase from their favorite song, quoting from an inspiring book passage, or uttering simple words as part of its design - whatever its goal, prayer shawls provide hope and comfort to their wearers.

For example; there are dedicated Christians who create prayer shawls for the U.S. military. These shawls are special because they are made for military families that have lost loved ones.

Christian symbolism assigns great significance to the number three, making it ideal for inclusion into prayer shawl designs. Tassels often feature, reminding us that in Numbers 15:38 God told His people to wear fringed garments (Numbers 15:38).

Color can have great meaning when selecting a prayer shawl. Purple traditionally symbolized nobility and was worn by royalty.

Additionally, this shade was known as the "color of the cross", appearing frequently in Bible stories such as Esther, Mordecai and Ezekiel.

Other popular choices are blue and white representing Trinity peace; or red as an embodiment of love and passion.

Their Use

Crafters of these shawls frequently incorporate prayers into their work. This helps calm them while knitting or crocheting and gives the finished shawl energy.

It also allows them to feel that their prayer for someone else will reach someone else who may benefit from their efforts.

Messianic Jews and some Christians have begun wearing shawls in an effort to emulate Jesus.

They believe that His clothing was required of all believers under Jewish law; however, spiritually this practice would be wrong as Christ taught that faith brings righteousness instead.

Some people like religious and spiritual groups use these shawls for personal devotion and creating sacred space in their home.

By wrapping it around themselves and praying for those in need or simply to meditate and connect with God. You could also give these beautiful gifts as meaningful tokens of your care for family or friends.

The Symbolic Connection

When people think of prayer, they often picture sitting quietly and conversing with the Almighty. While this can be effective, there are other means of connecting with Him as well - such as using a Christian prayer shawl.

Prayer shawls are pieces of fabric created by someone with care and affection for someone they will give it to, often while saying a specific prayer on behalf of the recipient as they work on it.

Once completed, recipients can wrap it around themselves to feel that intention every time they wear the piece of clothing. Shawls have become an integral part of Messianic Judaism and mainstream churches alike.

Messianic Jews seek to reconcile their Jewish identities and traditions with a belief in Jesus as Messiah; thus the shawls serve to recall tallits - an iconic prayer garment worn by men or boys that holds deep religious meaning.

While also being decorated with blue thread to represent God's written law or "Torah."

Prayer Shawls in Christianity

Though Jewish prayer shawls have deep historical and symbolic meaning, they are not required by Christians.

Christians should embrace Jewish traditions without forcing them upon Gentile believers who may be newer to faith - including wearing prayer shawls.

A prayer shawl can be an inspiring way of showing someone you care. Not only can you use it to convey that message of support and prayers for their well being, but you could even add words of love and encouragement in writing directly onto it!

Some shawls feature various colors to represent various ailments or diseases; red and yellow shawls may be given to people living with HIV, while pink ones are used as breast cancer support.

Others feature early Christian symbols like God's blessing - offering comfort during difficult times. You could even use your shawl for personal devotion or meditation!


Prayer shawls make great gifts to give. People who knit and crochet these beautiful garments for those in need often use them to pray over, comfort, and encourage others.

It is an expression of their love for the recipient and a reminder of God’s care and love. These shawls are also used to celebrate life’s milestones, such as weddings, births, and ordinations.

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